It is possible to slow climate change in the nick of time in many ways. The choice of alternatives to traditional animal proteins is a simple option. Alternative proteins are generally more sustainable for the environment since they produce less greenhouse gases and requires less water and land as traditional protein.
Proteins are nowadays incredibly diverse and can definitely lead one through a maze of Google search results for many days. To make it more digestible, we’re planning look at how companies classify proteins based on the origin of the protein from: fungi-based, plant-based (like the one we use, Fy Protein(tm)), insects-based, algae-based, and even proteins that are produced in labs using animal cells.
In 2020 the alternative protein industry has raised $3.1 billion in investment, which is three times more than the amount in 2019. With this increased investment is an increase in the number of innovative and new alternatives that go beyond the well-known protein sources that are derived from plants.
While many apply the word “plant-based” to encompass all alternatives to proteins, this term is limiting, as you’ll discover. it’s not even close to covering all products that are animal-free.
The world of alternative proteins can be a bit tangled However, once you’ve mastered about the various types and advantages of these proteins and their benefits, you’ll be able be confident in choosing the best option for your family and you.
Alternative proteins explained
Let’s begin with the basic. alternative proteins, also referred to as alt protein is a generic term which refers to foods drinks, beverages, or ingredients with protein that comes by non-animal resources. The six living kingdoms are beings: animal plants, protists and fungi, as well as archaebacteria and Eubacteria.
Many alternative proteins fall under the fungi, plant, and protist kingdoms. All of us require protein to create muscle, heal cells and to provide energy. People choose to consume alternative proteins for various reasons, including to combat climate change, stop the cruelty of animals, or to eat more mindfully.
Protein from plants
Plant-based proteins are probably the most popular and well-known type of alt protein that is currently available and are now a common sight in the food and beverage industry, driven by consumer demand for an alternative that is eco-friendly to animal proteins.
The majority of people will employ the phrase “plant-based” when referring to any protein substitute that is animal-free but this term does not mean that it is all inclusive. Let’s take a look at what plants-based alternatives are actually.
A lot of times, replacing conventional proteins in foods such as chicken nuggets and burgers the plant-based proteins are derived from you you guessed it, plant.
The promise of these proteins are similar to those derived from fungi — they may provide benefits for health and are more easily to find on earth. Plant-based proteins are concentrated protein that comes from the plant, meaning it’s extracted from the plant (like peas) and leaves the rest behind.
Of course, one can consume raw plants However, most of us are still craving the flavor and texture of traditional dairy products and meats. The most popular plant-based protein options that have been consumed throughout history include seitan tempeh and tofu as well as Jackfruit.
Protein from plants can be produced in a variety of ways. For instance, to create the burger that is based on plants, you can grow peas, then extract the protein portion from the peas, and later mix together with the other components to make the perfect burger without animals as the middleman.
In addition to meats made from plant sources milks, beverages made of plants such as’milks are starting to take over a greater portion of fridge shelves around the world, with sales increasing 20 percent by 2020.
A lot of people are now drinking almond milk, oat milk and soy milk , in place from cow’s milk. In other words, if you can think of any beverage or food, it’s likely to be a plant-based alternative of it.
Scientists believed that fungi could be a form of plant, however we’ve discovered that fungi belong to their own scientific domain and are more closely connected to animals than plants, despite the fact that they’re still found in the food section of the grocery shop.
Mind-blown yet? In order to fully grasp the world of fungi you’ll need to know about mycelium.
Many people envision mushroom caps when thinking of fungi, but it’s only one component of fungi known as”the fruiting body.
Mycelium is a fibrous part of a fungus that’s invisible to us, and spans thousands of miles below the ground. Mycelium is composed of hyphae, which are thread-like strands of fungi that develop into a fibrous, dense structure.
In Nature’s Fynd we create an nutrient-rich fungi protein called Fy(tm) by fermentation of microbes (more specifically filamentous fungi) which has its origins in an ancient hot spring that was formed by volcanic eruptions within Yellowstone National Park.
Due to mycelium’s natural fibrous structure, Fy is able to mimic the meat’s texture, however, it can also be transformed into creamy liquids after mixing with water and dried to powders, similar to flour. This flexibility lets Fy to be used in many different food items, including our meatless and dairy-free products.
There are a variety of methods for fermentation: submerged, solid-state fermentation and liquid-air interface (our exclusive method). Fermentation requires a tiny portion of the resources required to make animal and plant proteins, although the quantities differ based on the kind of fermentation.
In the liquid-air interface it is unique that the fungi are able to grow in vertical racks or trays inside (versus the massive tanks required to submerge the fermentation) this makes it a much simpler to scale up and more efficient method.
Many of the fungi-derived proteins are naturally nutrient-dense. They’re abundant in fiber and protein, as well as free of saturated fat. Like we mentioned earlier the plant-based protein alternatives transform an existing protein one form to another, such as from a pea to pea protein to a vegetable burger, however, mushrooms are an actual source of protein with net-new properties.
For instance the one we use at Nature’s Fynd this fungi that we utilize actually absorbs carbohydrates and converts them into our premium protein Fy that contains every amino acid including the essential nine. Fy is also not genetically modified. A majority of animal protein sources have the correct mix of amino acids, so that individuals can obtain all nine nutrients they require.
Vegans and vegetarians require an array of plant proteins. They often need the option of mixing and matching other sources of protein to obtain the correct amino acids. An example is the well-known mixture of beans and rice and beans, each of which has an incomplete set of amino acid profiles, yet together they make an entire meal that contains all nine vital amino acids.
Many companies are getting into the fungi-based protein market, with the aim of providing sustainable food for a world that is facing population growing and climate change.
Meat grown in labs
There’s plenty of discussion on what to call this new protein alternative. If you’re new in this area, you can also refer to meat grown in labs as fresh meat or cell-based meat and even cultivated meat.
Whatever you choose to refer to it, this alternative proteins is made by the transformation of small amounts of animal cells into completely edible meat substitutes.
The companies that produce these products are producing meat from fish, mammals and even certain organs of animals. Plus, lab-grown meat is not dependent on the use of plants to produce it.
The process of growth typically starts with the use of a few animal cells, such as muscle cells or stem cells. These are put into a growth mix in which they develop on structures known as scaffolding.
The advantage is that the final product is akin to meat as it is derived out of animal cell. Animals are removed from the equation , thereby avoiding disease and abuse at slaughterhouses. It also delivers an advantage of reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released.
Presently, the majority of lab-grown animal businesses are in the test stages, and only a handful are currently available for sale. The costs associated with lab-grown meats remain expensive compared to conventional counterparts.
In the absence of more approvals from the regulatory authorities to expand and mass-produce lab grown meats, the costs be a major obstacle to widespread adoption.
While algae have been studied and consumed for a long time, algae-derived protein is now becoming more sought-after in the alternative proteins market.
In order to make meats made from algae, companies take microalga (single-celled organism) and then use it to ferment to produce an ingredient which is mixed with flavorings and then the final product for food. Additionally, there are various kinds of algae utilized for various purposes.
Algae are high in omega-3 fats along with vitamins. Because these foods derived from microalgae are still in the infant phase of research and are only being developed on a tiny size, there are plenty of questions about scaling and isolating algae-derived protein.
One issue that this alternative proteins has to face is that algae do not have an unambiguous color, smell and taste. Without this, it will probably be difficult establish an acceptable alternative.
As research and investments in this field increase the benefits and drawbacks of making algae-based proteins in large quantities will become more apparent.
You read it right–insect protein is an additional alternative protein source. Insects are typically rich of protein they can also be raised with lower greenhouse gas emissions than raising animals, or growing vast areas of plant life.
The most well-known insects used as proteins include crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms. Businesses in this sector have insect farms selling the powdered version of the insect as protein that can be added to other foods such as protein bars, crackers and baking mixes to increase the protein content.
For many, the biggest obstacle for this sector in overcoming is social fear of eating insects mostly across Europe, the Americas in addition to Europe.
If these companies can manage to change consumers’ negative attitudes towards eating insects, then this could be an additional emerging field of alternative proteins in the years to be.
The future of food
The future of the planet is dependent on the evolution of the food industry. It’s exciting to see that new source of proteins is surfacing because they’re crucial for nourishing our population and reducing the impact of climate change.
If you prefer lab-grown, plant-based, fungi-based algae-based, insect proteins. When you select alternative proteins , you’re choosing an environmentally sustainable choice that’s usually healthier for you and for the environment.
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